In the beginning, Rampage was a simple arcade game. There were three simple monsters and one simple goal: Break stuff. Rampage Through Time, the fourth installment in the series, continues to flog this franchise in the same fashion as the previous installments have, though with a few new distractions on the way.
Complementing the cast of six monsters carried over from Rampage 2: Universal Tour (actually the third in the series) are the additions of Myukus, the purple cycloptic alien, and Harley, the aggressive warthog. Aside from the easily discounted special attacks each monster has been imbued with, there's really no discernable difference between the beasts, effectively setting the tone for the slight variation and extreme repetition that riddles this entire game.
As the title implies, Rampage Through Time adds a time-travel element in an attempt to spice up the series. Your oversized mutant posse travels to time periods such as the Old West and Medieval times, as well as other periods with less historical clarity, like "war zone," "alien," and "gangster." There are 20 stages in all, each of which has three sublevels and is finished off with a quasi-appropriately themed minigame. Staying true to the series, each sublevel is only a slight variation on the same theme, and each stage differentiates itself from others only with varying textures. If the levels were at all interesting or engaging, this wouldn't be a problem - but they're not. This leaves you, the player, with 60 levels of drudgery.
Gameplaywise, Rampage Through Time has managed to warp and ruin any decent gameplay that may have been left in the original. While the game essentially has the same controls, the lag between a button press and movement on the screen causes for moments of severe disconnection with the events occuring in the game.
The break-stuff doldrums are broken up only by the bonus-level minigames found at the end of each stage. Reminiscent of such classic titles as Combat, Blasteroids, and Pengo, and with one minigame playing out very much like a multiplayer version of the Nokia cellular-phone game Snake, the minigames do manage to break up the monotony to a certain degree. Unfortunately, even the minigames begin to repeat, and the solace once found in them evaporates quickly.
The game itself is broken down into three modes. Adventure mode, the meat and potatoes of the game, is a single-player mode that randomly tours through every stage. If two computer-controlled monsters weren't always accompanying you, this mode might have been fun. The game's AI can be called shoddy at best, as the computer-controlled monsters' primary interests range from punching you to generally getting in your way. What is the purpose of this feature? Why can't it be turned off? These questions go unanswered. The other two modes in the game, challenge and tournament, allow you to play through any of the minigames or stages in any order you choose. While you're accompanied by the same short-bus AI in these modes, you can opt to play against two other people with the aid of the multitap.
In the end, the only reason anyone would pick up Rampage Through Time in the first place is if they have a deep yearning to reminisce about classic games. If this applies to you, you'd be better off picking up the Midway Arcade Party Pak, which includes a version of the original Rampage, than coming anywhere near this title.